It’s less than two months until pitchers and catchers report, but as we speak, the Dodgers are starting their Annual Winter Development Minicamp at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. Yasiel Puig is not participating, as his team is in the playoffs in the Puerto Rico,, but the following players are participating:
- Steve Ames – P
- Tim Federowicz – C
- Onelki Garcia – P
- Zach Lee – P
- Matt Magill – P
- Jeremy Moore – OF
- Joc Pederson – OF
- Rob Rasmussen – P
- Chris Reed – P
- Paco Rodriguez – P
- Matt Wallach – C
- Chris Withrow – P
The arms dominate 2-1. Currently, the Dodgers have a dearth of position top players. Last year, over half of the players who were invited to this Minicamp were also called up to the Dodgers… at least for a cup of coffee. So, hopefully some good things are happening as you read this. John Sickels has released his Top 20 Dodgers Prospects in case you missed it. In other news, the Dodgers are poised to sign J.P. Howell, who is an excellent situational lefty, if healthy, which he hasn’t been for quite some time. Nothing new on the free agent or Andre Ethier trade rumor front. Yawn!!! All we can do is hurry up and wait for Spring Training with anticipation, but we do have to realize that there are some IF’s, AND’s and BUTS! Let’s look at them.
As Dodger fans we are supposed to have great expectations for the 2013 Dodgers and IF Carl Crawford returns to glory, IF Adrian Gonzalez regains his stroke and power, IF Matt Kemp recovers completely, IF Andre Ethier learns to hit LH pitching a little better, IF Hanley Ramirez can return to his MVP glory, IF Mark Ellis has one more good year in the tank, IF Luis Cruz can do what he did last year without walking, IF AJ Ellis can repeat 2012 and IF Chad Billingsley can remain healthy, the Dodger will win more than 100 games and IF Mark McGwire can do what he did in St. Louis, look out!
The problem is, not all that will happen AND depending upon what happens, they will fall somewhat short of that AND if they have significant injuries to pitchers AND position players, the wins will be impacted even more, AND we don’t know what we don’t know.
BUT, you never know what will actually happen. Dee Gordon has not looked particularly good, BUT he could blossom next year. Carl Crawford has stunk up the joint for a while, BUT he could return to his All-Star Form. Josh Beckett has been in decline for the past few years, BUT he could be rejuvenated in LA. The Dodgers have lots of pitching options, BUT that’s probably a good thing, especially after signing situational lefty J.P. Howell. BUT, let’s face it: the Dodgers could win it all in 2013 or they could be 81-81. Guggs and Co. has spent the money, but they don’t play the game.
They have spent on Hanley Ramirez who will not be effective unless he plays SS. The Dodgers are hoping that playing him at SS will help him get his MVP -type bat back and his defensive shortcomings at SS will be minimized. Those of you who say to move him to 3B, have no idea what a “head case” he is. He’s now our head case, and if you move him to 3B right now, he’ll be a .250 hitter. He just might hit .330 at SS. That’s what the Dodgers are hoping for. Unless he has an epiphany and decides to move to 3B, he’s our SS. Maybe someone can push the right buttons, but unless Hanley volunteers to play 3B, it won’t be pretty if he does. Carl Crawford has just plain sucked since he left Tampa Bay. All we can do is hope he can re-capture his magic. I am skeptical, but I would love to be wrong. Here are Adrian Gonzales’ HR totals the last 4 years: 40, 31, 27, 18. Is this a trend? It looks like it. Let’s hope he can turn it around. There are excellent reports on Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley and their physical condition. Let’s hope that is accurate and continues. There are a lot of IF’s AND’s and BUT’s, but it could be a fun season…. IF everything goes right AND players are healthy BUT I don’t really know…